Artist to Watch: Cuco
If Cuco’s album artwork doesn’t already draw you in for its clean pastel and neon-lights/Microsoft Word Art aesthetics, his sound surely will. At 19 years old and already performing at 2018’s SXSW, as well as having over 775,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, California-based Omar Banos is quickly drawing attention in the music world. He goes by the name Cuco, and his bilingual tracks are best described as dreamy, disembodied bedroom-pop. To top it off, he’s able to smoothly alternate between English and Spanish. His top singles include songs titled “Lo Que Siento,” and “Amor de Siempre,” but his albums also contain English-titled tracks such as “Lover Is a Day,” and “Rest Easy, I’ll See You Again.”
Listeners don’t have to be fluent in both languages to feel the warm waves of his electronic and symphonic sound. His upbeat yet hopeless-romantic style lyrics, such as “I'll take the bumpy road it'll probably break my legs/As long as I don’t show you what’s ruining my head,” make it all the more enticing. He even did his own cover and remastering of Lil Yachty’s “1 Night,” strumming out the longer notes in the song, putting his own electronic spin on it and making it arguably a much better rendition than the original. Some of his songs, such as “I’ve Left My Body and Don’t Want To Come Back” have no lyrics at all, and instead feature orchestral style ballads using instruments such as the French horn and trumpet that makes listeners check that they’re still listening to the same artist. His songs can fit scenes of a lonely, heartbroken teenager laying stoned in their bed to flying through the streets of Los Angeles in a convertible with the top down at sunset. Although he’s still working on perfecting his signature sound, Cuco’s songs are versatile, beautiful and clean.
The teenage Chicano and bilingual artist has people turning their heads by the thousands. His Instagram, cleverly named @cucopuffs, already has over 170 thousand followers and counting. His fan base, largely made up of teenage Latinos, adores him as a role model for young artists of color, challenging the traditional idea surrounding Chicano men to have strong masculinity and hold back softer feelings. Cuco’s unique combination of a Mexican-American background with a strive towards romantic, synthesized songs and a California twist make him an artist you don’t want to take your eye off of.
Catch him featured in another up-and-coming bedroom pop artist Clairo’s music video for her song, “Flamin’ Hot Cheetos,” and check out Cuco’s latest single, “Sunnyside.”